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Echo Press Editorial: Thumbs Up/Down, views by the Echo Press

INPUT BEFORE A VOTE Thumbs Up: We like the idea the Alexandria City Council came up with at its last meeting: Moving the “public comment” period to the beginning of the meetings, right after the consent agenda, instead of having it just before adjournment. Mayor Sara Carlson suggested the change, noting that it will give the public a chance to express their thoughts on items that the council will be considering that night, not after it has already taken action. Residents, of course, already have opportunities to state their case at council meetings when public hearings are held. However, not every item triggers a full public hearing, so residents should cash in on this chance to get in their two-cents before a vote is taken. A tip: Residents should give some thought on what they want to get across to the council by being organized and prepared. Each person will have three minutes to state their views. Some may not like the time restriction but it’s a necessity for running a meeting. Public hearings must take place at pre-determined times and limitless discussion could muck up the process.

SENIOR CENTER SUPPORT Thumbs Up: The Roy and Patty Wicken family deserve a thumbs up for volunteering their time, talents and resources to put on the pork chop fundraising dinner for the Alexandria Senior Center on January 10. Senior center board members and other volunteers who helped should also be saluted. Hundreds of people came out to support the center. Members of the Jefferson High School Happiness Club volunteered to help and spread some happiness to those in attendance. It was great to see such strong community support for the Senior Center as it goes through its transition and begins a New Year.

SCAMMERS FROM 664 Thumbs Down: Here’s a scam to take note of: Some residents have received calls from numbers with an area code they’d never heard of, such as “664.” We’ve also heard about bogus “809” numbers. Fears about the foreign area codes surfaced years ago and while this scam is somewhat outdated and overblown these days, it’s still worth noting. If you return or accept the call, you could be charged several hundred dollars even if you’re only on the line for a few minutes while you think you’re on hold. Verizon has issued alerts on several of these prefixes, many of which originate in the Caribbean. The short and simple advice: If you don’t recognize a number, don’t return the call.

IMPRESSED WITH SANTA Thumbs Up: The Santa for Seniors effort, with support from the local United Way and the Alexandria Area Hockey Association, continues to generate glowing remarks. In the last “thumbs” edition, we printed a thumbs up from the folks at Bethel Manor III, second floor, for their unexpected Christmas baskets. Last week, we heard from the residents on the third floor. They wanted to express their collective thanks for “all the food, and cute, thoughtful notes” they received. “It must have taken a lot of planning and work to accomplish all that in one evening,” said a resident. “We echo the sentiments expressed by the ladies on the second floor.”

LEFT-TURNING DRIVERS Thumbs Down: With Broadway getting busier all the time, it’s important to keep the traffic flowing but some left-turning drivers aren’t helping. Some forget to use the left-turn lane or only tentatively get into the lane at the last second. Once in the turning lane, some drivers are failing to proceed partially into the intersection so they can complete their left turn on the yellow light. As a result, they have to wait for the next light and all the other drivers in the left-turn lane have to wait as well.